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University of Florida News
The University of Florida has received an $846,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a model program to help students with learning disabilities achieve academic success in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, collectively referred to as STEM.
Recent policies enacted by states and school districts across the United States have reawakened the debate on mandatory grade retention. Since 2012, 14 states and the District of Columbia have adopted mandatory retention policies aimed at students who can’t read proficiently by the third grade. This article discusses the pros and cons of mandatory retention.
As the nation marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the White House is honoring eight “next generation leaders” in the disability community. During a ceremony Thursday to commemorate the twenty-third anniversary of the ADA, Obama administration officials lauded the young leaders — some of whom are still college students — as “Champions of Change.”
The New York Times
The House of Representatives recently passed a bill aimed at greatly narrowing the federal role in public education that was expanded under No Child Left Behind. No Democrat voted for the bill, called the Student Success Act, and the Obama administration has threatened to veto it. Even beyond the Beltway, the debate about education has become far more polarized in the past decade. Strange partnerships have emerged on both sides, as anxiety has grown over the lackluster performance of American students compared with children in other countries.
KQED: Mind Shift
Authors of a recent study argue that exposure to video games “could play a significant role as part of a larger strategy designed to interest women in science and engineering careers.” Participants with little prior video-game exposure “realized large gains after only ten hours of training,” they note, adding that “we can only imagine the benefits that might be realized after weeks, months, or even years of action-video-gaming experience.”
The New York Times
Taking advantage of interactive technology, Disney has introduced several initiatives meant to engage digital readers while taking advantage of the company’s extensive library. “It goes from the traditional reading experience through to a more interactive, immersive storytelling experience,” said Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide.
The New York Times
A gift for spatial reasoning — the kind that may inspire an imaginative child to dismantle a clock or the family refrigerator — may be a greater predictor of future creativity or innovation than math or verbal skills, particularly in math, science and related fields, according to a study published Monday in the journal Psychological Science.
The New York Times
The Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that it had approved the first brain wave test to help diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. The test takes 15 to 20 minutes, and measures two kinds of brain waves — theta and beta. Certain combinations of those waves tend to be more prevalent in children with A.D.H.D., the Food and Drug Administration said in a news release.
The New York Times
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, researchers have found brain changes in preschool-age children with depression that are not apparent in their nondepressed peers. The children underwent M.R.I. brain scans while viewing pictures of happy, sad, fearful or neutral faces. The researchers found that right amygdala and right thalamus activity was significantly greater in the depressed children than in the others, a finding that has also been observed in depressed adolescents and adults.
Minority children are far less likely than their white counterparts to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study in this week's journal Pediatrics. In fact, authors found that African-American children were 69% less likely to be diagnosed, while Hispanic children were 45% less likely to have an ADHD diagnosis.
In the first study of its kind, scientists have pinpointed differences in the developing brain that may increase the risk of cognitive disabilities, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Doctors believe being able to intervene this early may help kids avoid the consequences of ADHD. At Children's Hospital Los Angeles, researchers looked deep into the brains of premature babies to find out what differences can be seen at birth.
Virtual Strategy Magazine
Ghotit released its long awaited Real Writer & Reader for Linux. Ghotit Real Writer & Reader uses advanced writing and reading assistant technologies tailor-made for people with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning disabilities. Dr. Robert Iakobashvili, Ghotit CTO and one of Ghotit founders, said, "Internet forums reflect many attempts to use on Linux Windows dyslexia assistive software over the Wine emulator. Due to the nature of the assistive software rich by hooks and text-to-speech technologies, the attempts were rarely successful.
The parents of a 10-year-old boy withdrawn from school in Wirral after threatening to harm himself have won a two-year battle for classroom support. Sue and Steve Peacock were unable to get son Mathew adequate help despite experts diagnosing him with emotional and learning difficulties. The couple finally had their calls for support vindicated after a judge ruled Mathew needed help – rejecting protests from the council that refused him specialist support.
The social care landscape in Scotland is currently undergoing huge and transformational change with the introduction of self-directed support (SDS), which gives people greater choice and control over their support, along with the opportunity to control their own support budget.
Greenvale (UK) is helping Fenland Area Community Enterprise Trust, FACET, through a community garden scheme. FACET, in March provides skills training for work and independent living for adults with learning and other disabilities including physical or sensory impairment, mental health problems or who are head injury victims.
This is Cornwall
A FATHER with learning disabilities faces the threat of eviction from his home near St Stephen because of planning policy red tape. Locals have rallied behind Craig Martinhull, who lives in a caravan on the land at Brannel Mill, Coombe, following a proposal by Cornwall Council to turn him off the land.
The most common challenge for parents and teachers is to recognise the ‘symptoms’ of Learning Disabilities (LD). One can identify a child with LD through the various discrepancies in the child’s activities / performance. Following are some common signals which can be observed in school going children (you may find the problems in varying degrees and not all signs may be present in the same child.
Learning disability support groups say a review of the system determining which children get special help to sit exams needs to level the playing field by removing the cost to parents. New Zealand ministry special education group manager Brian Coffey said a review was under way and is due to be completed towards the end of August. It is currently mandatory for students applying for extra help during exams to have a report from an educational psychologist diagnosing a specific learning disability.
The Cameron Trust, Housing & Support Alliance and the Centre for Welfare Reform have launched the Investing in Ordinary Lives initiative to explore how private finance could be used to develop ethical housing options for people with learning disabilities in Britain. People with learning disabilities struggle more than most to get decent housing. Although most people want a home of their own in their own communities, they are often forced to accept places in residential services where they cannot choose their flatmates or how they get support. A bad situation has been made even worse by housing shortages, reduced benefit entitlements and significant cuts in social care.
In addition to struggling in school, many children with learning disabilities are known to face social and emotional challenges including depression, anxiety, and isolation. Often beginning early in childhood, they become more pronounced during adolescence, an emotionally turbulent time. For these youngsters, more positive relationships with the significant adults in their lives -- including parents and teachers -- can improve learning and "socioemotional" experiences, says Dr. Michal Al-Yagon of Tel Aviv University's Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education.